Matthew Duss

Matthew Duss is a foreign policy analyst and a contributing writer for the Prospect. You can follow him on Twitter @mattduss.

Recent Articles

AS SERIOUS AND THOUGHTFUL AS AN ENDLESS STREAM OF CLOWNS ISSUING FROM A COLORFULLY PAINTED VOLKSWAGEN.

Jonah Goldberg , from a recent interview : When Barack Obama is on the stump, his whole point is that if we can just be unified, public policy issues don't really matter, what really matters is unity -- that sort of thing. There's also a sort of contempt for Democratic values that also comes out of this unity thing. One of the most fascistic things that kids on college campuses say is that, "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem." In other words, there is no safe harbor. Either you agree with where the movement wants to go or you are a problem and problems need to be solved by definition. Really, Jonah? Really? WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush said Tuesday that there was no room for neutrality in the war against terrorism. [...] "Over time it's going to be important for nations to know they will be held accountable for inactivity," he said. "You're either with us or against us in the fight against terror." In all seriousness, how is one supposed to respond...

COME, LOOK AT IRAQ THROUGH OUR STRAW.

Eric Martin has an excellent couple of posts on how the mainstream media, having spent the last few years shrugging furiously over their complicity in selling the neocons' "9/11WMDAlQaedaSaddamOMG!!!1!!" argument for the Iraq war, now seem intent on repeating that mistake by accepting the neocons' "SurgeSuccessAnbarVictoryOMG!!!1!!" story. One really has to marvel at the discipline of the conservative noise machine; its ability to hammer incessantly at a settled-upon narrative is rivaled only by its ability to ignore evidence that fails to conform to said narrative. Having convinced a large segment of the media to come get high with them, conservatives now feel emboldened to attack Democrats for not smoking up as well. Fred Barnes , auditioning for the role of McCain court hagiographer, proclaims that St. John's surge in the polls mirrors that of the surge in Iraq. Jonathan Last mocks Democrats for not recognizing his personal fantasies about Iraq as fact. The title of Last's piece, "...

MORE ON TAKFIR, "ISLAMIC SUPREMACISM".

Eli Lake comments on my post about takfir : I did not say that all Islamic Supremacists opposed elections. Nor did I say that Shi'ia Islamic Supremacists adhered to Salafi Takfir. I simply said that the doctrine of Takfir and its analog for Khomeinists sanction activities normally proscribed by Islam for unbelievers due to the dire threat to the faith. This is the basis for any kind of supremacist movement. White supremacists want different laws for blacks than for whites that keep whites superior. Ditto for Islamic supremacists. Also all four groups you mention use terror to advance statecraft, seek the imposition of Islamic law on their subjects (Muslim and non-Muslim) and celebrate a fanatical hatred of Americans and Jews. Yes there are differences. But there are also important similarities you, what's the word, elide. I'll try to be clearer than I was yesterday: As I understand it, al-Qaeda's interpretation of takfir is so different from anything practiced by Khomeinists, Hamas,...

A CAUTIONARY TALE FOR ALL US PARENTS.

Given that Ann Coulter is, surprise, classless enough to use an obituary for her father as an opportunity to attack, in typically brutish fashion, her political enemies, I don't feel bad at all noting that my suspicions about her career as an insult comic serving as therapy for her deeply rooted parent issues have now been confirmed. All that is left is to pray that my own child never grows to love/hate me enough to turn my dead body into a bludgeon. --Matthew Duss

TODAY'S GO-TO VILLAINS.

Via Steve Clemons , a good short doc on Hollywood's vilification of Arabs. Among the many offensive images and representations in the program, the clip from Back to the Future is particularly ridiculous. The year was 1985, Muammar Khaddafi was being sold to us as the new Hitler , (this was several new Hitlers ago; since then we've had Saddam Hussein , Slobodan Milosevic , Osama bin Laden , Saddam Hussein again, with Mahmoud Ahmedinejad acting as the current new Hitler) and thus "Libyans" was offered as perfunctory shorthand for "villains." So as not to draw attention to themselves, the "Libyans" drive around wearing army fatigues and kaffiyehs . (You'll notice, or maybe you won't, that one of the clever "Libyans" is wearing a red-checked Jordanian kaffiyeh; is this intended as a disguise?) And then, of course, the "Libyans" are driving a VW bus, well known as preferred conveyance of your flag-burning, apple pie abjuring, third world liberation sympathizing hippie. And thus we have the...

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